52. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
The poster’s pretty average, nothing particularly remarkable, but inoffensive too.
All you need to know about the film is that it has a scene where Chaplin gets high on cocaine and foils a jailbreak.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 8/10. Good solid fun, but a little disjointed.
51. M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
This poster is simply glorious, perfectly worthy of this glorious film. Those Germans know their shit.
I have a fascination with the Weimar Republic. Basically post-WWI Berlin was a wonderfully decadent, cultured, sex-crazed, artistic mecca. Then the Nazis had to come in and fuck it up. Jerks. I find the brazen sexuality of that era to be fascinating, simply because very few cultures in history have ever been so open and tolerant of sexuality(of pretty much every kind). Fucking interests me OK.
Anyway this film isn’t really about that, but it is a product of that place and era, so it seemed relevant, and the poster is very reflective of that time.
This film is wonderful. It’s the earliest film I know of that I would consider film-noir. It’s dark, suspenseful, powerful, and compelling. Within 10 minutes I was crying. Peter Lorre gives an incredible all-world performance as a tormented child-molester/killer, I mean by the end I almost felt sorry for him. It’s absolutely fascinating.
Lorre gives this incredible speech at the end where he pleads directly into the camera for mercy. There’s an absolutely insane Nazi propaganda film from 1940 called “The Eternal Jew“, which among other things calls Albert Einstein a pseudo-scientist, Charlie Chaplin a Jew, and compares the migration pattern of rats to those of Jews. They also show this scene as proof that Jews are child molesters. The fact that Lorre is not Jewish, and that the scene is from a fictional movie, doesn’t seem to matter when there is propaganda to be made.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film a 10/10. It drags a little bit in the middle, but it’s a small complaint.
34. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
Pretty much most famous for the roll dance(depicted above) and Charlie Chaplin eating of his boot. Also a direct influence on this Simpsons episode.
I liked the movie, but it was bit underwhelming when I first saw it. With some of the films especially the top 100 on the list, there is a disconnect between my expectation due to their ranking, and what my response actually is.
Having now seen almost every Chaplin feature length film, I am starting to understand how good he was, and how intricate his films are, and how rich his comedy is. All these gags that have been redone endlessly are really well thought out and well executed, and I think my being underwhelmed by “The Gold Rush” is more due to 83 years worth of comedy having followed it, and seeing all his techniques and ideas used over and over again to the point that the revolutionary aspects of Chaplin’s work seem commonplace.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film an 8/10, but the more I think about it, I would probably give in a 9/10. It’s the best of his big 3 films: “The Gold Rush“, “City Lights“, and “Modern Times“.
21. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
- The Kid
- The Circus
- City Lights
- Monsieur Verdoux
- The Pilgrim
- Modern Times
- The Gold Rush
- The Great Dictator
Those rankings are a bit deceiving because I like all of the Chaplin stuff I have seen (I think I have them all at 8 or higher), it’s just that “The Gold Rush” and “The Great Dictator” were underwhelming in comparison to the raves I had heard about them.
Chaplin mixes anarchy with pathos probably better than anyone ever has or ever will. The belief that you can mix craziness, character development, and a love story into a seamless blend really started with Chaplin. Many have tried since, but most of it fails horribly(I am looking at you Jack Black). Occasionally you get characters in films that almost succeed(namely Will Ferrell‘s character in “Old School“, and Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber“) at bringing both the crazy and the sympathy, but no one has ever done it so masterfully and so regularly as Chaplin.
“City Lights” is most notable for the iconic closing scene, which is probably Chaplin’s most well known non-comedic scene:
But the film also contains my favorite Chaplin sequence:
Just the sheer ridiculousness of it all and the choreography blows my mind.
On filmaffinity.com I rated the film an 8/10, and I think I am sticking with that. I think the poster is pretty tight too.